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UnitedHealth division buying surgery center group for $2.3 billion

Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Health & Fitness

MINNEAPOLIS -- The health care services business at UnitedHealth Group is acquiring for $2.3 billion an Illinois-based company that operates surgery centers and surgical hospitals, according to a deal announced Monday.

It's the latest move by United, which is the nation's largest health insurer, to provide health care directly to patients through a division called Optum, which, like United, is based outside the Twin Cities.

Optum would acquire all outstanding common stock of Surgical Care Affiliates, Inc., for $57 per share, according to acquisition terms announced Monday.

In 2015, Optum became the nation's largest provider of urgent care services by acquiring West Virginia-based MedExpress.

"Combining SCA and OptumCare will enable us to continue the transition to high-quality, high-value ambulatory surgical care, partnering with the full range of health systems, medical groups and health plans," said Larry Renfro, vice chairman of UnitedHealth Group and Optum chief executive, in a statement announcing the deal.

Surgical Care Affiliates is based in suburban Chicago and serves about 1 million patients per year through operations in more than 30 states. Optum has 20,000 affiliated physicians and operates hundreds of care facilities.

The agreement calls for the acquisition of SCA's outstanding common stock for a fixed price of $57 per share, to be funded between 51 percent and 80 percent with UnitedHealth Group common stock, according to Monday's announcement. The final percentage will be determined at UnitedHealth Group's option, and the remainder will be in cash.

The transaction is expected to close during the first half of 2017. It's expected to be neutral to UnitedHealth Group's outlook for adjusted net earnings per share in 2017, the company said, and modestly accretive in 2018.

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